THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED
Organized by: Courtney Copeland
KS Lawyers hesitant to take the case
March 26, 2016
My name is Courtney, and I’m a 26 year old mixed race first time and first generation college student persuing a Ph.D in ornithology. On January 19th of this year as I was walking to my first day of class at The University of Kansas, I was notified by my Fiance that someone with a fake Facebook profile had sent an old topless photo of me to the majority of our male friends, claiming that they thought I was a swinger on Tumbler before deleting their profile when my Fiance confronted them about their true identity. I made it through that awful day, and went home to do more online searching. What my Fiance and I found was horrifying. Every single nude photo that I had sent to my ex-boyfriend over those 5 years was on the internet, along with my name, location, and places that I frequent, right next to my face and exposed body.
I’ve found myself on 17 different porn and revenge porn pages, all with my name, face, and location open to the world. In some cases, he even refers to me as “my ex Courtney Easley” on the posts he made. On another site, you can search for revenge porn photos of people by first name, last name, and location. He uploaded every intimate photo to that site and decided to call me a “dumb skank” that he’d been in a long term relationship with, along with several other horrible things I’d rather not mention here.
I’ve been harassed incessantly on Facebook and through email by men that have found me on these sites to the point that I’ve had to take down profile photos and have changed my last name on my page before my wedding date. I’ve also considered deleting my Facebook page all together because of the harassment, and fear of being found by some of the men that have saved my information. Fortunately the legal aid I’ve been seeing since January has been incredibly helpful in getting these disgusting websites to take my photos and information down, but when something like this gets on the internet it spreads like wildfire and it is almost impossible to get everything deleted. He’s still trying even though there’s always the possibility for them to return at any time.
On February 2nd, I filed a for a Protection from Stalking order against Mr. Haskins (my ex-boyfriend of 5 years), and was awarded a temporary order until the hearing that was to take place two weeks later. On February 4th, I reached into my mailbox and found a folded up piece of paper that turned out to be a racist rape death threat that read “I’m going to rape you to fucking death you cheating nigger. And now that I know where you work, I’ll see you around :)”. I immediately called the Lawrence Police who then took the evidence, and asked Mr. Haskins if he had any involvement with the death threat, which of course he denied.
The next day, I was studying in the library before my next class, and was approached by an unfamiliar male student that asked me if I “posted nudes online, because someone did”. I was so humiliated and frightened that I had a panic attack and ran.
Then, on February 24th, I was taking my free hour between classes to finish a paper at the library for my upcoming class. As I walked out of the front doors around 10:20am, I noticed that it was quiet. Suddenly, as I approached the sidewalk on the back side of the humanities building (another large building 6 - 8 yards from the library doors), I noticed loud quick footsteps, and looked back to find a man walking closely behind me. I began to walk faster, and he quickly moved up beside me. He asked me if I was a new student, and my name. I gave him my first name, and asked him similar questions. He then asked me if I had plans for later, and I told him that I’d be going home to my husband. He said to me “are you happily married?” At this point I was annoyed and fed up, and told him of course I am, I’m not interested, and I’m late for class. He then said “if you’re happily married, then why would you post porn of yourself all over the internet?”. I said to him “go fuck yourself” very loudly, and as I walked away he grabbed me by the arm, then the crotch, and slammed me up against the brick building. He then says “you’re nothing but a 4chan whore” as I scream in pain, and he runs off. I called the campus police, and went to the hospital for my bruised arm, and injured genitalia. He still hasn’t been found, but he found me. I fear someone else will too.
I discovered on March 3rd that the police officer never even made a report about the death threat with the DA’s office, even though he told me he had handed the case off to them in an email on February 12th, and that I should speak to them if I had any questions. They know nothing about it, and told me that the officer handling the case would “give me a call about it” on Monday March 7th. Neither police department has reached out to me about any of my reports. I’ve been the one sending the emails, and making the phone calls, and compiling evidence.
My first semester of college has truly been a nightmare. I’m in counseling, taking anti-anxiety medication for my frequent flashbacks and panic attacks, and sleeping medications for night terrors. Unfortunately, the sleeping medication my doctor prescribed me caused me to have more night terrors, and cognitive issues. I’m terrified of walking outside and around campus, so I now need an escort to feel even mildly comfortable going from class to class. Needless to say, after everything that’s happened all while having to compile most of the evidence off of these sick sites on my own, my security and self worth have taken some really big blows. Most of the comments left were racist rape threats, just like the note left in my mailbox. I’ve had to read every last one of them, to the point where I had a mental breakdown. Thanks to the strong support I have in my Fiance, and my past experience as a victim of rape, I am slowly pulling myself out of the immense feelings of helplessness and depression I have been forced into by the actions of this coward.
Mr. Haskins is the cause of all of this, and he has yet to be punished for any of it. Unfortunately, Kansas does not currently have any revenge porn laws in place, and if any new laws are passed, they will most likely not be retroactive. This leaves me with little recourse other than a civil suit for emotional damages, copy-write infringement, and possibly some telecommunication laws that he’s broken, but I cannot pursue any of this without a lawyer. My anti-anxiety medications are also rather expensive, and I’ve been unable to work my part-time job for almost a month now, for fear of being harmed at my job. I’ve also had to use much of the remainder of my student loans to pay for many of the things that I would use my employment paycheck for, like utilities, medications, and food. My phone decided to stop working this past weekend (March 5th), so I now have no means of communication outside of the laptop I use for school, and I cannot afford to purchase another with all of the household and medical expenses I must first consider. This of course has only caused me more anxiety, and agoraphobic tendencies to consume of my life.
I’m asking for financial help so I can have some semblance of justice in all of this because the only person that has been punished thus far, is me, and the only thing I did, was end a relationship that had emotionally ended a year before, and took my things. I’m tired of feeling helpless and I refuse to be ignored, so even the smallest donation will help me make bigger steps towards bringing this criminal to justice. If you cannot make a donation, then at the very least please share my story. Bring awareness to online sexual abuse, because that is exactly what it is. It is a big deal, it does ruin lives, and it is never acceptable without consent.
Revenge porn is sexual abuse and everyone needs to view it that way. Rape culture is real, it is one of the most poisonous and sickening parts of our society, and one can never truly understand the gravity of it unless you're a victim of it, but one can empathize, support, and bring awareness to help the victims of it get the justice that they deserve so they can try and move on . We must expose these abusers that hide behind their computers, because I know that my story is only one variation of many. So speak out about it, don’t ignore it when you see it, and if you can do something to stop it, do it! Anyone can be a victim of online sexual abuse, regardless of gender, so let’s help each other #ENDTHEREVENGE